An A.M. Costa Rica reprint
Published Tuesday, July 22, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 144

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Contents copyrighted 2008 by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. (cédula juridica 3-101-290-170).  Republication without permission is prohibited under U.S. and Costa Rican laws and international conventions.

Lawyer files extradition court brief in defense of fathers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Costa Rican lawyer who has represented men in extradition hearings has filed a supreme court brief in the case of a U.S. mother who kidnapped her daughter and lived as a fugitive for 10 years in Costa Rica.

The lawyer is Arcelio Hernández of Bufete Hernández Mussio y Asociados. He said he did so "because I feel that women are treated differently than men in cases involving the abduction of children."

This is the case of Chere Lyn Tomayko, 46, a U.S. citizen who took her 7-year-old daughter Alexandria out of Texas after a court there awarded joint custody to her and her former boyfriend. Ms. Tomayko has been the object of a public relations campaign seeking to prevent her extradition on the U.S. federal child stealing charge.

The Sala IV constitutional court is examining briefs this week to determine if there are constitutional grounds to prevent the extradition.

Hernández filed what could be considered a friend of the court brief supporting the Procuraduría General de la República, which is seeking the extradition at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lined up against the extradition is the  Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, the Defensoría Pública and some members of the news media. The Defensoría brief seeks to break new legal ground because it claims that a woman gains Costa Rican nationality simply by marrying a Costa Rican man.

Hernández, in his brief, correctly points out that the Costa Rican Constitution only permits this when the woman loses her own nationality by reason of the union. He notes that this is not the case with U.S. citizenship.

The Defensoría is relying on a section of the Constitution 
that prohibits the extradition of Costa Rican nationals. The
Constitutional also says that when a woman marries a Costa Rican and does not lose her citizenship there is a two-year waiting before she has the right to apply for citizenship here. The Defensoría brief does not mention this.

Hernández said in his brief that he represented one man who fled to Costa Rica and said that his two daughters were victims of aggression by the mother. Nevertheless, the man was extradited, said Hernández.

Ms. Tomayko is claiming that she was a victim of abuse by her former boyfriend, Roger Cyprian, even though the couple lived together only for a short time and Cyprian said that he hardly saw her in the three years leading up to her flight.

Hernández said that although there are obvious physical and emotional differences between men and women "one cannot say that a father does not feel pain or he is not a victim that deserves the protection of the state before a mother who illegally takes and transports  as son or daughter to a distant land, leaving in this way a terrible situation of emotional pain and feelings of impotence and fear."

Yet, Hernández said in a covering e-mail, "I have never seen such efforts by so many public institutions to avoid an extradition of a requested fugitive who happens to be a man."

The lawyer urged the court to reject the briefs in favor of Ms Tomayko to preserve the respect for the rule of law and to avoid making Costa Rica a place where parental abductors can hide in the future.

Ms. Tomayko married her Costa Rican companion in April after the extradition process was well under way but before a formal order was issued by a court in Heredia. She also has two children here by the man.  She has been in prison for 10 months fighting the extradition.